Saturday, December 31, 2011

Garden Of Bedlam - "Everything Will Die" Review!!

It's time to end 2011 in style with our final CD review of this year, and 30th overall, and as expected, it's our review of Garden of Bedlam's new album "Everything Will Die"! Independently released on Boxing Day at a CD release show at The Canadian Nightclub, this is the popular Sault Ontario metal quartet's first full length album & second CD. Like for their 2009 self-titled EP, "Everything Will Die" was recorded & mixed at Stereo Soul Studios with producer Miguel Gauthier last summer, and was later mastered by Andy Krehm at Silverbirch Productions in Toronto. The album features Garden of Bedlam's current lineup, including Erik "Buzz" Boissineau on lead vocals, Josh Belleau on guitar, his cousin Evan on bass, and Derek Turner on drums. "Everything Will Die" can be purchased at Garden of Bedlam concerts & at The Rad Zone for $10, and though online purchasing details have yet to be publically revealed, I'd assume that a future iTunes release would be in the cards. Some songs are streaming on Garden of Bedlam pages as well, but definitely support the band and buy the whole thing. With 10 songs clocking in at about 45 minutes in length, let's start the review by talking about the first track, "Against The Grain"! (Updated on September 29th, 2012)

Like at many of their live concerts, "Against The Grain" kicks off this album, and after a slow build with each band member joining in, the song starts with a hard charging riff and some nice melodic heavy singing from Buzz that familiarly reminds me of their concerts! That said, the song does sound a bit deeper in tone than I remember from live performances, though that could just be my wrong perception. The song, which seems to talk of revenge and breaking free to stand against opposition, is definitely catchy with a nice sing along chorus, and Buzz's vocals just soar at points, along with some nice drumming and very heavy riffs, especially during the verses. I'd have liked an added guitar solo, but we'll get plenty of those in future tracks on the CD. As a metal song, this is definitely one of the best on "Everything Will Die", balancing entertaining sounds and a heavy aggression very nicely and setting the tone of the rest of the album for what should be a great collection of modern heavy metal!

Second on the album is "Three Days", the song that Garden of Bedlam wrote about their experiences at the Kiss Battle of the Bands in November/December 2009 where they won the right to open for Kiss at The Essar Center the following August. Starting with a nice bass intro from Evan Belleau, the song launches into a heavy but slightly slower riff that has a definite serious deliberation to it, and the follows with Buzz's singing. The pre-chorus vocals are too reserved, but on the chorus itself, Buzz's soaring vocals are great and very easy to sing along with! On the whole, this song is heavier but not as enthusiastic as "Against The Grain", but I find that the lyrics are a bit stronger, and the members of Garden of Bedlam definitely show their talents throughout. The bridge isn't as strong as the preceding portions of the song, seeming repetitive and not as heavy, but it leads into Josh Belleau's first guitar solo which is facemelting, as you'd assume! While I like "Three Days" a lot, and it definitely has some great lyrical significance, I like the energy and speed of "Against The Grain" a bit more. Still, this is quite a good way to kick off this album!

Third is the album's title track, "Everything Will Die", which seems to allude lyrically to the apocalypse and possibly the images in the album booklet. The song has a low sounding opening that doesn't really hook you into the song, but then it gets incredibly fast and heavy out of nowhere! Easily the heaviest song on the album so far, the singing is very determined and forceful, and the guitar work, though low in tone, is relentless with great bass work behind it! This song is very easy to mosh to, especially during the verses and bridge, Josh's guitar solo completely outshines the one on "Three Days" for speed and technicality, and it's good to see Buzz break out a falsetto scream here, even if it's low in the mix. While it's a heavier track, the spark and energy on "Against The Grain" is missing, and it ends very abruptly, but on a heaviness scale, "Everything Will Die" is a great track that gets the job done, and fans will eat it up! It's followed by the album's newest & shortest track "2012", which is a 68 second instrumental that has a slow and dark feel, almost as if the apocalypse did come as predicted on the previous track. Does "2012" imply the Mayan doomsday prophecy? I don't know, but it's an effective transition, even if it's not a real standalone song.

Fifth on the album is "Torment", and it imemdiately starts with a high tempo heavy section that immediately grabs you and makes you take notice, and I immediately welcome the positive energy that I'd missed from "Against The Grain"! The guys in Garden of Bedlam are relentless here, though the choruses kill some of the momentum. Evan Belleau's bass work really shines, and the song, which seems to talk about the torment caused by a person's inner demons, nicely mixes an up tempo feel and relentless metal to create a standout track on this album! I liked hearing the return of Buzz's screaming too, but like on "Everything Will Die", the song ended too abruptly afterwards, which is unfortunate, but "Torment" still stands as a highlight of this album! If only the chorus wasn't as reserved. Sixth is "With A Spark", which starts with a great drum-powered intro and some very heavy and charging riffs, and later, Buzz offers some of his best singing on the album so far, ranging from aggressive determined verse singing to some nicely varied and rangy singing in the choruses! Lyrically alluding to perseverance and not giving up, I really enjoy this song's intensity and variance, and Josh Belleau's guitar solo compliments everything well, as does some of Derek Turner's best drumming so far! This is another great track that deserves more attention, and hopefully it gains that at future Garden of Bedlam shows!

That's followed by the CD's longest and softest track, "Around The Bend", which seems to be about saying goodbye to a loved one, and the related pain and feelings surrounding that. Buzz's singing here is really good, and I remember wanting him to sing like this more on their 2009 EP. This proves he can handle softer singing really well, and you can feel the emotion in his voice early on! The choruses are a bit heavier, but for the first 3/4ths of the song, it follows along the same path of soft ballad-like material. I like that they inject some heavier riffs in so it doesn't get too light, but after a while, it did seem to get repetitive, despite the affecting lyrics. After 4:30, a bass solo starts before the song radically changes, getting very heavy to end the last two minutes in grand fashion! We get heavy riffs, a nice guitar solo, and some good energy, with more emotional lyrics, which isn't a bad contrast on the whole. Very nice and well written track, but my metalhead nature does prefer some earlier tracks to this one.

Eighth on "Everything Will Die" is the shortest real "song" on the album, "Your Disgrace", and it's another good & energetic metal number! The intro breaks down into some great chaotic metal, and there's some clear anger in the lyrics from Buzz's early shouting to the content, which relates to anger towards the words that someone said about them. The song has a nice catchy chorus, and a good audience participation quality, but I do find that the lyrics aren't very strong. They're very repetitive late in the song, and I missed more of the anger in the vocals later on. The band are on top form here (missing guitar solo aside), and Evan's bass work shines here, but it's not one of the best or most varied songs on the CD, though I do enjoy it! It's followed by the second to last song on the album, "New Rain", and it's long been one of my personal favourites of Garden of Bedlam's, but how does it sound in studio? Awesome, though a bit deeper than I remember it live. Buzz's singing is at it's best for range and ability here, I find, and it's a great song to sing along with thanks to the soaring catchy verses and memorable choruses! Lyrically alluding to living for reality and not your dreams (I think), the rest of the song lives up to the hype, with heavy guitar work and nicely paced drumming, though the bridge before the guitar solo should only stretch that long live, it's just filler here. This is easily the catchiest song in my opinion on "Everything Will Die", and though there's heavier songs on the disc, this remains on of my personal favourites!

The album closes with "Emptiness Without A Name", which launches with a very fast and heavy intro and building vocals, and it's relentless untilt he chorus, which calms down a bit though remains very heavy. The breakdown midway through feels forced when they were already keeping things brutal early on, and the chorus repeats too much late, which dampens a very heavy and listenable track, but it's a quality closer to "Everything Will Die" that ends everything on a brutal note!

So how do I grade Garden of Bedlam's first full length album? Well, I can say without reservation that it's much better and sounds much heavier than their debut EP, and it's probably the best sounding new local metal album of 2011! They pooled together a ton of well written heavy modern sounding material into this CD and it came out very nicely! The production's better, there's more substance, it's as good of a step up as you'd expect! Buzz's singing shined on almost every track, and his range just gets better, while Josh Belleau's guitar work was awesome with tons of heavy riffs and many great and varied guitar solos! Evan Belleau's bass work was solid as well, and it was a clear and steady presence on each song, as was Derek Turner's proficient and relentless drumming. No song on this album is bad, and I personally enjoyed the heavier and more energetic songs like "Against The Grain", "New Rain", and "With A Spark" the most of the included material, but there's not a dull moment to be had overall. And yes, kudos to the band for including lyrics in the booklet, that's always a plus in my eyes!

For criticisms, I'll say that the mix on some songs could have been better to accentuate the singing, a few songs sound deeper in studio than they do live, a few songs could have used a guitar solo (or a longer one), and a couple tracks needed more energy or a non-abrupt ending, but on the whole, this is a great CD from one of Sault Ontario's most talented metal bands, and hopefully Garden of Bedlam build on this to reach even bigger success in the short & long run! Definitely pick this album up if you get a chance for a great slice of modern heavy metal!

I hope you guys liked this month's CD review and last post of 2011! So, which CD review will kick off 2012 at The Sault Metal Scene? Barring a release delay or another notable local metal CD review to complicate choosing, I hope to review local solo hard rock artist Mike Haggith's new CD "Neighbourhood Watch", which is slated for release on January 25th. If all goes according to plan, it'll be the second straight year where we're reviewing a solo album of his first to kick off the year, so this should be interesting! For reference sake, if it's delayed or a new album release muddies things, and no other new CDs come out, I'll say that we will not review a Sykotyk Rampage album or (if I had it) Amethyst's debut cassette, as it's too soon since we last reviewed albums of theirs, but I tentatively have plans to review a Sykotyk Rampage review next month if nothing new is released. Also, while I know there'll be sentiment for a review of "Woods V: Grey Skies & Electric Light" next , it's honestly too soon from our last review of a Woods of Ypres CD & from David Gold's passing to provide an objective review, but I have "W5" pencilled in for early March, mark my words! So whether our next review is of Mike's new album, another new release, or something from the archives, look out for our next CD review in late January!

That's all for this year, but in case you're not around for tomorrow's 2012 preview post, I'll wish you guys a Happy New Year, and stay tuned for much more news, previews, reviews, features, and more in the coming year! Thanks everyone!

2011: A Look Back In The Year Of Local Metal

It's time to take a look back at the year that was in the local metal scene! The past 12 months were very eventful, for better or worse, but hopefully this ended up as one of the better recent years on the whole, as a lot of awesome things went down! This post is mostly similar to our look back at 2010, though I added stuff on general news items that impacted the scene in 2011 as well, so it should be mostly familiar in tone. I admittedly didn't hit on everything, or give some stories as much attention as others, but I tried to touch on as many bases as possible for the past year, so let's take a trip back over the past 12 months at the SMS!

The biggest concerts in terms of scope took place at The Dreammakers Theater at Kewadin Casino, which welcomed 5 big name hard rock concerts throughout 2011 that turned local heads! Firstly, Allstar Promotions brought platinum selling California hard rock acts Buckcherry and Papa Roach (plus local acoustic duo Fallen Heroes) to Kewadin Casino on March 14th, and despite a lot of lineup changes, the show was a huge success! One month later, Cinderella (the glam metal mainstays, not the play) hit Sault Michigan for a night of old school metal classics that fans surely ate up! After a quiet summer, British hard rock legends Whitesnake made their way to Kewadin Casino on August 26th, and David Coverdale & company didn't disappoint with a huge set of their memorable hits. Then on October 21st, Joan Jett & The Blackhearts rocked the Soo with new and old standout songs, rocking as good as they did back in their heyday in a well recieved concert! The year ended with Poison frontman Bret Michaels' fourth solo stop in the Sault area this past Tuesday, as he delivered a good time of hair metal classics and newer songs for his fans! This was a big year for shows at The Dreammakers Theater, but hopefully 2012 will bring us even more there, and perhaps at The Essar Center too?

Over in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, a large number of high profile concerts featuring big name bands (local or otherwise) took place over the past 12 months, so here's some of what went down here in 2011! Local concert bookers brought notable out of town bands like Abriosis, Black Moor, The Dayglo Abortions, Dead & Divine, For All That Is Lost, Fuck The Facts, Hallows Die, Helix, Maximum RNR, Napalm Death, The Saigon Hookers, Skull Fist, Thekillingfield, Unleash The Archers, Who Made Who, and numerous others to Sault Ontario this year, ensuring a heavy and proficient year of local concerts! Among the many metal shows this year, local concert bookers Dismembertainment kept things very heavy with dozens of Roosevelt Hotel metal nights and big shows at other venues, Lion Ride returned home for two shows midway through the year, no less than eleven bands joined forces at April's Sewer Swampstravaganja, Garden of Bedlam launched their new album with a Boxing Day CD release show, Woods of Ypres played their last local concert in March, and festivals like Hempfest, Rotaryfest, and the Searchmont Music Festival kept the music going strong in the past year! Add in lots of concerts from Tym & Caveman Morrison, Turner Up & Full Circle, Shit Liver, and many more local acts, and there was no shortage of metal to go around in Sault Ontario in 2011!

While there was a lot of heaviness in Sault Ontario this year, our brothers & sisters in Sault Michigan can't be left out either, as they had a lot of big shows besides the major Kewadin Casino ones to talk about! Out of town bands like The Darwin Project, Driven, Infathom, Nudge, Peril, and RedStone Riot rocked the Sault Michigan area in 2011, all of which surely turned heads with local fans news and old! This year also saw some notable concert events in Sault Michigan, such as the metal participation in this year's I-500 Pub Crawl, the first annual edition of LemmaFest at Dondee Lanes, and this year's Sugar Island Music Festival, along with numerous general metal concerts. Bands like Monkey's Uncle, Powerslug, and Splitshot kept busy with numerous shows throughout 2011, Swayze Train made a big splash with their June debut and future concerts, and Elipzis rocked the area for the last time this spring. Half A Man, Great Bodily Harm, Hammerspace, and NoXcape kept things heavy with some notable concerts earlier in the year, and young talent like Abstract, Free Refill, Beyond The Surface, The Highest of Fives, and Banned hit the stage many times, proving that the scene has a lot of promise for years to come, and 2012 should be no different!

Unfortunately, much of the last two weeks of 2011 was impacted by a huge news story that saddened the local metal scene, as Woods of Ypres frontman David Gold passed away on December 21st in a car accident outside of Barrie. Easily one of the most shocking stories we've ever had to report on here, a huge outpouring of grief and rememberances came from local & metal communities alike, remembering David for his talents, his character, and his dedication to his work in Woods of Ypres, teaching, and his other bands. He was laid to rest on Wednesday at Northwood Funeral Home, and the crash essentially ended Woods of Ypres as a functioning band, but their label Earache Records leaked "Woods V: Grey Skies & Electric Light" early in tribute to David last week, giving fans a chance to check out some of their last published work in advance of it's formal release next month. It was a sad way to end 2011, but hopefully David's legacy and music lives on for years and years to come!

Among other topics, there was a lot of other news stories in the scene that were notable, so let's flash back to some of them. Local concert booker Rich Moreland made a splash this year by starting his booking company Dismembertainment, booking tons of great metal shows, buying Foggy Notions, renaming it Feedback, and then dealing with issues relating to noise complaints from concerts held there in a subject that many talked about this fall. Also this year: bands like As It Stands & Gates of Winter released exciting details for new CDs coming out in 2012, The Canadian Nightclub flooded this July & underwent 7 weeks of renovations, Shaw TV's Christian Lemay began spotlighting some local metal talent for televised interviews, became Local2, Energy Rock Radio relocated to British Columbia, local metal-related books "Soo Stories", "Going Underground", "Led Zeppelin FAQ", and "Yooper Bars" saw local releases, Woods of Ypres released their last music video and went on their last tours, Sneaky Pete finally made their local concert debut, Stephane Vincent took over booking the Roosevelt Hotel metal nights this fall, and horror punk quintet Frightlight opened for The Misfits in Toronto, among many other notable news stories in the local metal scene this year!

Despite a sporadic release schedule for new local metal CDs, we definitely saw more albums released as a whole from local metal & hard rock talent in 2011 than we did in 2010! The year ended with a bang thanks to the release of Garden of Bedlam's full length CD "Everything Will Die", solidifying their place among the local elite, but that wasn't all this year! Woods of Ypres released their "Home" vinyl single earlier this year featuring songs from the "Woods 4.5" sessions, along with re-releasing 2009's "Woods IV: The Green Album" through Earache Records (and that doesn't even count the early "Woods V" leak!) Also, Sault Michigan's own Clownsack released their "Funny Farm" EP this spring, and Destroilet began selling their own debut EP a few months later (though they oddly haven't played live since.) In the realm of digital downloads, local crash rockers Sykotyk Rampage released no less than FIVE new albums, Sault Michigan's own Theatre of Night re-released "Christmas Night" in time for the holidays, and local solo artist Mike Haggith put out both his new studio album "Suspended Animation" and his second best-of collection, helping support a solid collection of new CDs and EPs from local metal talent in 2011!

The past year wasn't as busy as 2010 for new local metal & hard rock bands, but a few notable bands made their debuts to high audiences over the past 12 months! In Sault Ontario, one of the biggest new bands was View To A Kill, who united members of Sativa Rose, State of Misery, and Chillum into an exciting deathcore quartet in the latter months of 2011! This wasn't the only new band that frontman Steve Rhodes joined this year, fronting the death metal supergroup Bring The Misery at a pair of shows in June, with bandmates Ray Cowan & Tyler St. Amour later joining another new local band, Social Suicide. Also new this year: Hardcore quartet Skull After Betrayl made a quick impact in early 2011 with some notable gigs, SBD bassist Brad Griffith's new two-man project Sounds From The Green Room rocked from here to Ottawa, a new version of Turner Up launched this fall, and members of Late & Loud united in the one-off trio General Striker earlier this month. In Sault Michigan, members of Electric Motor Fish formed the talented new quintet known as Swayze Train, former members of Absolute & Shift united under the name NoXcape, members of the Traynor family joined forces in the band known as Banned, and 3/5ths of Splitshot formed a new band named Trail's End, among a number of other notable new bands & solo projects entering the scene this year!

Also in 2011, a high number of local metal & hard rock bands underwent major lineup changes, and like in 2010, none saw more Turner Up, who morphed from a classic hard rock quintet to a more general classic quartet named Full Circle in the spring, with only Robert Brown & Scott McClurg surviving the changes, and that doesn't even count the new version of Turner Up! Among other bands with major membership changes: Caveman Morrison rotated bassists & drummers twice before settling on the White brothers, Frightlight added new members St. Mayhem & Chris FreaknStein, Woods of Ypres split with the Madden brothers before recording "Woods V", and Half Past welcomed Jordan Rains & said goodbye to Arthur Lacasse. In Sault Michigan, Half A Man added Dillion Semasky & Mikey Bishop while parting ways with Doug Reed & Denny Breslin, leading to a much different look and sound going into 2012. Also across the river: End of Existence welcomed Bryan Kindel & Craig Harrison to the fold, Jake LaLonde returned home to replace Tony Hubbard in Splitshot, and local singer Donny Newell joined both Monkey's Uncle & NoXcape earlier this year. Among other notable changes: Josh Stephney replaced Mike Vincent in The Bear Hunters, and Brian Holmes & Alan Wells left Gates of Winter & Winkstinger respectively, among many other notable local lineup changes in 2011!

Like last year, a number of local bands broke up or went inactive in 2011 that are worth noting. Most recently, Woods of Ypres essentially dissolved following the passing of David Gold on December 21st, though fans should keep an eye out for posthumous CD releases in the future. Also this year, hard rockers Sense of Truth disbanded after months of inactivity this fall, ending their successful late 2000s run. Among other breakups in Sault Ontario: Death metal quintet Bring The Fallen (and part-successors Bring The Misery) dissolved earlier this year, Full Circle (the original Turner Up) split up a few weeks ago, hard rock trio Browbeat ended this spring, Stiffler's Mom (formerly Sin Stereo) parted ways, and bands like Dirty Virgin, No Arrow, and SBD quietly went inactive in recent months. In Sault Michigan, hard rock quartet Elipzis split up this summer to make way for Muskegon-based successors RedStone Riot, Splitshot will play their last concert tonight in St. Ignace, and groove metal quartet Great Bodily Harm parted ways, among a number of other band dissolutions in the Sault area this year. Also this year: Sault Star reporter Frank Dobrovnik passed away, The Vibe Lounge shut down, and SooToday news editor David Helwig left the site, among other notable ends in the Sault area in 2011.

Luckily, where things end, others return, as the local metal scene saw a bunch of comebacks and returns! Among bands returning from hiatuses or breakups: noted early-2000s metal quintet Hollow returned for one weekend only in August, glam/punk quartet Dirty Virgin returned after 17 months to open for Crued in May, Woods of Ypres played their first local concert in 19 months in March, experimental rockers Sue Inside re-emerged on stage in Oil Springs in August, Caveman Morrison's new lineup returned after a 5 month break, State of Misery returned after a 3 month breakup, and Stillbroke returned to activity this fall under the name Borderline Divine. Meanwhile in the Sault Michigan area, metal quartet Hammerspace returned after breaking up this spring, Life's Eclipse and their label Werehold Records re-emerged locally with a vengeance, young hard rockers Free Refill returned to the stage after almost a year's hiatus, and Scofflaw made their presence felt with a few return gigs this summer. Add the local return of Hempfest in August, Foggy Notions' rebirth as Feedback, and the re-opening of Case's Music & The Canadian Nightclub to the list, and this year has had no shortage of comebacks either!

There, I hope you guys enjoyed our look back at the year that was! Tomorrow, we'll preview some stuff to look out for in 2012 in the local metal scene, and there's more news and our next "Where Are The New Albums?" post to come as well, but first, stay tuned for our final post of 2011 later today, and it will be our review of Garden of Bedlam's new CD "Everything Will Die"! Thanks everyone!

Friday, December 30, 2011

LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (Banned & Powerslug), New Year's Weekend Concert Previews, Plus The End Of Splitshot!!

It's time for our final concert preview post of 2011, and though the Sault Ontario side of things is surprisingly quiet for metal concerts, there's some hard rocking for you guys to take in in Sault Michigan to send out 2011 and welcome 2012 with! So that's the focus today, but there's also some lineup details for one band and a note on one ending their run outside of town this weekend, so let's kick things off with LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS!!!

Kinross hard rockers Banned will return to the Sault Michigan stage on New Year's Eve to rock Golanka's Bar (a.k.a. The Bird) and send out 2011 in style! This New Year's Eve job (as they often call their shows) will be their first since their Pickford concert over Halloween weekend, and their first since confirming their new lineup (who I'll have more on in a second), but the music should be as varied and hard rocking as ever! As far as I can tell, they won't be playing at The Bird tonight, this is a one night only deal this weekend. They'll be on at 10:00 PM tomorrow night, there's no announced cover charge, and you must be 21 to attend. For more details, check the above links! It's great to see Banned back on stage, and hopefully they rock The Bird all night long as they welcome 2012 with their fans! And as for their lineup, Banned have added singer/keyboardist Mike Straw to their lineup, and enlisted bassist Jim Pentland to replace the departed Alex Schrovenwever, officially making them a quartet. The new members were quietly added to their Facebook page's lineup at some point in the past two months.

No word on if they played with Banned at the Pickford show in October, and I'm not familiar with either Mike or Jim musically, but hopefully they complement Alex & Don Traynor well for the new lineup, and go see them all rock The Bird tomorrow night! For a preview, here's Banned covering AC/DC's "TNT" in Sugar Island in August!

Also new this weekend, local hard rockers Powerslug will return to the stage to rock Dan's Place in nearby Rudyard for New Year's Eve! No word on if they're playing tonight, I haven't definitively heard either way, so I'll assume they're only playing tomorrow. My source for this new gig, Powerslug's first since their Kewadin Casino weekend earlier this month, is guitarist Chris Gurnoe's personal Facebook page, and apologies for the short notice. As expected, nothing was posted on the old River Witch Facebook page, which was deleted from Facebook anyway earlier this month, so I've deleted it from our band links, but if Powerslug ever launch a new official band page, I'll be sure to let you guys know! This talented quartet will likely be on at around 10:00 PM tomorrow night, you must be 21 to attend, and there's no announced cover charge. Check the above links for more details, and I'd recommend calling Dan's Place to see if Powerslug are playing tonight or not before risking a drive out to Rudyard in case they are doubling up this weekend. Go check out their hard rocking sounds this weekend at Dan's Place, they'll be sure to impress, and I'll try to keep tabs on future Powerslug updates as they come in!

Now to the New Years Weekend shows we already knew about, starting with local hard rock quintet Swayze Train's debut at The Rapids Lounge at Kewadin Casino! We've seen this talented band from members of Electric Motor Fish, Clownsack, The Slackjawed Rats, and Insipid Brutality numerous times in the second half of 2011, and now they'll finally land at The Rapids Lounge tonight & tomorrow night to ring in a new year with some solid hard rock and metal covers! I wish I could show you guys how they sound or look in concert (hopefully some media will come next year), but don't sleep on Swayze Train, they're one of the more promising new bands in Sault Michigan, so don't miss them! They should also be on at around 10:00 PM tonight & tomorrow, there's no announced cover charges, and once again, you must be 21 to attend. Check the above links for more details, and definitely consider seeing this talented quintet at The Rapids Lounge this weekend for your year-end hard rocking needs!

Lastly for announced Sault Michigan-area hard rock shows this weekend is the announced return of local hard rock quintet NoXcape to The Satisfied Frog tomorrow night & Saturday night in their own New Years Weekend bash! Now, I want you guys to take these shows with a grain of salt, as I've heard extremely little from NoXcape since September regarding a real band update, and though their Reverbnation page still lists these shows, it's possible it's just scarcely updated. As far as I can tell, they're still together, and unless I hear otherwise, I'll treat these shows as on, but be wary in case there's nothing going down at The Frog from them this weekend. If NoXcape are indeed returning to the stage this weekend, they'll be on at 10:00 PM tonight & tomorrow, you must be 21 to attend, and there's no announced cover charge. Check the above links for more details! Hopefully NoXcape are playing this weekend, as their Absolute & Shift pasts indicate a solid hard hitting sound, but if I hear anything otherwise, I'll let you know. For now, consider these shows at The Frog tonight & tomorrow!

And finally today, though this is just out of our local range, I wanted to bring these up as they're the last chance you can see this local band before their breakup. Local hard rock quintet Splitshot are breaking up following the conclusion of their concert weekend at the Kewadin Casino in St. Ignace tonight & tomorrow night, as previously indicated by bassist Kyle Beaumont to me in an e-mail last month. I find it a bit odd that their last shows aren't local, but St. Ignace is only just an hour away, and if you wanna see them one last time before Splitshot parts ways, it won't be a huge drive. Of course, 3/5ths of Splitshot will begin to devote their musical focus to Trail's End next year, but Splitshot will be remembered for giving us a lot of great hard rock sets from their fall 2010 inception through the end of this year, and though the lack of posted audio or video from their sets was always a disappointment, their talents spoke for themselves live. They filled the gap between Nixxon Dixxon and Trail's End nicely, and they'll be missed locally! I'll likely be moving Splitshot into our inactive band links early in the new year, but go check them out in St. Ignace this weekend, and make sure to see most of their lineup with Trail's End next year!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for our review of Garden of Bedlam's "Everything Will Die" and our look back at 2011 below! Thanks everyone!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Bret Michaels, David Gold, Woods Of Ypres, And Winkstinger News!!

Well, I'm back from Detroit, and I have a new news post to show for it as we inch into a busy stretch at the SMS, including our year end and beginning special posts, our Garden of Bedlam CD review, weekend concert previews, and likely more! Notice the Garden of Bedlam "Everything Will Die" banner, as we hype it's release on Monday, but for today's news, we have the latest on David Gold & Woods of Ypres, the first video from a recent major concert, and a surprising departure from a local band, so here's what you need to know!

The first video from Tuesday night's Bret Michaels concert at The Dreammaker's Theater at Kewadin Casino is now online! This comes from YouTube user jcpeck76, who previously uploaded two videos from August's Whitesnake concert at Kewadin Casino onto their YouTube channel. This time however, the video in question is of Bret Michaels covering Poison's "Look What The Cat Dragged In", as posted after the show on Tuesday, and how's the video? They got very close to the stage, which is awesome for video clarity, but the audio is staticy, especially compared to jcpeck76's Whitesnake videos. A bit of a tradeoff, but Poison/Bret Michaels fans should enjoy this video regardless, and from what I can tell, they do the original song justice, though I'm admittedly not a huge Bret Michaels fan. If you want a taste of Tuesday's Bret Michaels concert, then view more below, and stay tuned for more fallout from the last major local hard rock show of 2011 if it comes in!

Next up, let's get to the latest David Gold/Woods of Ypres updates. First off, from what I heard, yesterday's funeral was very moving & emotional, and the get together afterwards at The Water Tower Inn was also a success. I still wish I could have been there, but we were just hitting the road back to town after 3:00 PM, so I couldn't get there in time. I do wanna visit the cemetery to see David in the near future and pay my respects, as it's better late than never! That said, I've heard nothing new concerning the accident outside of Barrie, but I know there's unanswered questions about how it happened, and hopefully we'll hear more soon to help fill in some of the blanks. Also, in Woods of Ypres-centric news, the cover art for the band's final recorded album "Woods V: Grey Skies & Electric Light" has been released through Earache Records' Twitter account, and it was included in the original tweet that linked fans to the advance free copy of the album (my apologies for not hearing about this until now!) It's on your left, and it's the first Woods of Ypres album cover since the original pressing of "Against The Seasons" to not feature their official logo, which helps it come full circle in a way. It has a handmade etching feel which is unique, and hopefully when/if "Woods V" officially comes out, there's more interesting artwork in the booklet for fans to check out!

My final notes today on the Woods of Ypres front relate to new videos, as fans have been posting some old Woods of Ypres videos online in memoriam of David, so here's what you should know! A great new Facebook page called David Gold's Legacy saw four video uploads of Woods of Ypres' Robin Cross-fronted lineup from 2003, back when David was still the band's live drummer, and you can check out all four of the videos at this location! The videos, which were posted last night & came from Montreal's Obey The Flame festival in May 2003, saw the band play each song from the "Against The Seasons" EP except "Awaiting The Inevitable", and the audio's not bad at all, though the video quality is very fuzzy. Still, these are nice early videos of Woods of Ypres, so check the above links to give them a look! Also new are four videos from Woods of Ypres' concert on May 23rd at El Corazon in Seattle during their last "Pain & Piss" North American tour, which were uploaded yesterday by YouTube user cerrakin. These include their performances of "Suicide Cargoload (Drag That Weight)" & "Halves and Quarters", the first chunk of "The Sun Was In My Eyes (Part 1)", "By The Time You Read This (I Will Already Be Dead)", and "Wet Leather", so click each of the above links to see the new videos!

The video quality is pretty good, and cerrakin was close to the action, but the audio can be a bit quieter than I think it really was. You also can't really see Evan Madden at this angle, but the last full live lineup of Woods of Ypres are on fire here! It's still surprising how depressing some of these lyrics are knowing what actually happened to David though. Kudos to cerrakin for uploading these, and hopefully we see some more soon from more older Woods of Ypres shows! Some footage from their likely last concert in Virginia on June 9th would be cool to see. Check the above links for more, and here's Woods of Ypres' "W4" two song medley in Seattle below!

And finally for today, here's some surprising news, as Sault Ontario extreme metal quintet Winkstinger have parted ways with singer Alan Wells. The band cited "circumstances beyond their control" for why Alan left on their Facebook page, though what that could entail wasn't publicized. Alan had sang for Winkstinger since their inception last year, appearing with them at numerous local concerts between their live debut in October 2010 and their most recent show last month. This is disappointing news to hear, as Alan was definitely one of the most unique of the harsher local metal singers, and his vocals really helped set Winkstinger apart over the past year. Hopefully the split was amicable though, and best of luck to Alan in whatever comes next, musically or otherwise! That said, Winkstinger have officially launched a search to find a new singer, so here's what you should know on that front. The band are looking for someone with the ability to write original lyrics, and they're aiming for someone different, and that doesn't necessarily imply that you have to scream to try out. Uniquely, plans are to hold singer auditions at Feedback early next year, which is definitely interesting and gives a big show feel to everything, but details are still up in the air on this process.

For now, if you're interested, contact the band at the above links, and stay tuned for updates on Winkstinger's singer search! That's all for now, but I've got much more in store to send 2011 out with a bang, so stay tuned over the next couple of days! Thanks everyone!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Details On David Gold's Funeral, New As It Stands Songs, And More!!

Hey guys, here's another news post for this Tuesday morning, and though it's a bit smaller than I'd like, I felt I had to get this out now to ensure the word spread about the top story. Today, we have assorted site link/post news, some brand new As It Stands material, and leading things off, all the latest on David Gold's final arrangements and what you need to know to pay your final respects, so read on below.

Funeral arrangements for David Gold have been announced for those interested in attending or saying goodbye to the late Woods of Ypres frontman. As seen in his obituary posted on SooToday (which is nicely written & lists much of his extended family), the funeral itself will be held tomorrow at 4:00 PM (exactly one week since the accident) at Northwood Funeral Home Cremation & Reception Centre at 942 Great Northern Road, which is not far past the new Sault Area Hospital and 3rd Line East. Reverend Jim Moffatt will officiate the ceremony, there will be visitation at Northwood at 1:00 PM for the hours before the funeral, and you can make donations towards covering David's service by contacting Northwood Funeral Home at (705) 945-7758, or presumably in person. That said, this changes the previous plans to reserve tomorrow for just a casual get-together in David's honour, but his sister Marie confirmed on his personal Facebook page yesterday that a party in his memory will take place at 6:00 PM that evening. Details and a location are forthcoming, so whether it will still be held at The Canadian Motor Hotel or not isn't known at present. However, the planned display of letters & remembrances from friends & fans hasn't changed, so remember to send them (and donation inquiries towards his final expenses) to

Marie has requested as well that all remembrance letters be sent to her e-mail by 5:00 PM today to ensure they can be printed off & displayed tomorrow, so if you can't make it, get them in A.S.A.P.! It's slightly short notice to hear that the funeral is taking place tomorrow, not just the memorial get-together, but David was so well loved in local and metal circles that I'm sure a great turnout will result regardless. I probably can't make the funeral itself, but if I'm home in time for the party in his honour, I'll try and at least make an appearance. Either way, I sent a memorial letter to Marie for displaying at the service, so hopefully it helps add to what should be a great supply of letters & remembrances. That's about all new on the David Gold front that I've heard over the past while, but if anything news comes out from tomorrow's services, the accident investigation, or any future Woods of Ypres-related developments, I'll be sure to share them here! I will add that a couple of YouTube users have put their slideshow making talents to use with some nice videos for "Woods V: Grey Skies & Electric Light" tracks, notably on YouTube user chrismjsa's channel, but here's a nice video from Colton Cybulski set to Woods of Ypres' new song "Finality", so check it out below!

Now to some extra stories from the local scene, and first, local hardcore quintet As It Stands have posted two new studio quality originals onto their Facebook page to stream! The posted songs are their originals "Conception" and "Big Problem, Little Lock City", both of which were presumably recorded at Metalworks Studios in Mississauga in July towards their yet-unreleased third EP. These new uploads replaced "Oh Herm Herm Delish" on their BandPage Facebook application, which is where they were posted on Sunday morning, and according to recent postings, they plan to release another "tasty treat" for our ears on New Years' Day (likely implying at least one extra song they recorded.) How are the new tracks? The production's nice, and they show great aggression, but I'll hold on detailed comments until As It Stands release their new CD, whenever that is. Right now, I'm just glad to see them back in action locally after their 5 month break from the stage, and remember that they return to action on Thursday for a concert in Espanola, so keep that in mind! Check out their new songs at the above links, and stay tuned for more As It Stands news as it comes in!

And finally, here's three assorted site updates for our links and features, and as usual, these are in alphabetical order by band or venue name:
  • I've finally added a Facebook link & updated phone number ((705) 575-7222) for Sault Ontario bar/concert venue Feedback to our Sault Ontario concert venue listings on your right. I'm surprised it took this long to link Feedback there! We haven't heard much from the former Foggy's in over a week, but stay tuned for more Feedback updates!
  • I've updated our GarageBand Profile on Gates of Winter to reflect the fact that keyboardist Brian Holmes left the band last month, and to better date their lineup to reflect who was in the band when GarageBand closed. That's about all, hopefully things are accurate now!
  • In the next while, but not immediately, I'll likely be moving Woods of Ypres to our inactive band links. Posthumous CD releases aside, I see no realistic way that the band can survive without David Gold, who essentially was Woods of Ypres. Plus, sites like Encylopedia Metallum already consider the band split-up, for what that's worth. I hope guitarist Joel Violette gets back in the swing of things soon though, as his talents should take him very far (his Woods of Ypres output sure proved that over the past two years!)
That's all for today, but remember to enjoy TONIGHT'S Bret Michaels show and Green Christmas Bash, and if I don't see you guys tomorrow, I hope David's funeral and memorial party go well. It's a shame that we have to say goodbye to him so young, but hopefully all of his fans and friends have a chance to pay their respects tomorrow. If I can't be there, I'll be there in spirit, and stay tuned for more news and notes over the coming days, along with our review of Garden of Bedlam's new CD! Thanks everyone!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Saultites In Out Of Town Bands Profile: Repetitions

Let's celebrate Boxing Day with our last Saultites In Out Of Town Bands Profile of the year, and if you're a hardcore punk fan, you should dig this one! After a month's change of focus to update past profiles, we're back to the status quo tonight to profile a band that's not based out of the area, but features a Sault Ste. Marie native or former resident in their lineup, and hopefully you guys like this month's featured band and profile! Without any further adieu, here's what you need to know! (Updated on November 26th, 2014)
Repetitions (Windsor, Ontario)

Lineup: (Saultites in RED; ex-members in italics)

Jay Buston (vocals)
Stef Paulton (guitar)

Jill Bishop (guitar)
Ash Richtig (bass)
Sean Boone (drums)
John Bellon (guitar)

Official Facebook page:
Official Reverbnation page:
Official Bustoncode page:
Official YouTube channel:

Local Info: Though best known for his drumming talents, Sault Ontario native Ashley Richtig has expanded beyond his usual instrument to rock the bass in Repetitions, one of his three active bands in the Windsor area! Though I personally don't know a lot about Ash's local background, he's became a fixture in the Windsor music scene from his work in metal-influenced bands like The Heatseeking Moisture Missiles & NeanderTHRALL, along with recent work as an administrator and contributor with the monthly webzine The Windsor Zene. Ever the busy and prolific artist, keep an eye out for much more from Ash's various projects!

Band Bio: A supergroup of sorts in the Windsor area, members of bands like The Posers, NeanderTHRALL, and PFOD joined forces to form the hardcore punk band Repetitions in January 2011. After obtaining singer Jay Buston, the band debuted as openers for The Heatseeking Moisture Missiles on April 2nd, and quickly rose through the Windsor scene to open for bands like Napalm Death, The Swabs, and Jucifer during a healthy run of high profile concerts in Southern Ontario through the summer of 2012. Aside from their second guitar slot, Repetitions' lineup remained stable since forming. Though mostly sticking to concerts in 2011, Repetitions hit the studio last month to begin sessions towards recording a debut CD, releasing it in the spring of 2012. After a successful but short run, Repetitions surprisingly broke up in July 2012 following a well publicized farewell concert, with Jay Buston & Ash Richtig soon regrouping in the similar Windsor band The Line Drawn.

Of the live videos I've seen and the tracks I've heard, I'm getting a good vibe of hardcore fury from them! Their short but furious originals and their live covers seem to be prime candidates for moshing and mayhem, and of all of Ash's active Windsor bands, they're easily one of the most aggressive! Jay Buston's singing is brutal and relentless but with a hint of punk attitude, the guitar riffs match up well, and Ash proves to be as talented of a bassist with Repetitions as he is a drummer, though I'd like to see some higher quality live videos. They seem to have good energy too, especially on Jay's part, and they remind me of some notable higher profile hardcore bands from their style, which isn't a bad criticism. It's disappointing to see such a prominent whirlwind run end so soon after their formation, but follow The Line Drawn and the members' other bands to whet your Repetitions whistle, and maybe they'll pop up again in the future!

For media of Repetitions' material, your best bets are to check out their pages on Ustream, Bustoncode, and YouTube, which feature jam session videos, audio demos, and numerous live concert clips respectively, so click on the above links to check everything out until their album is released! On YouTube, there's videos from three Repetitions concerts to check out, and to show here, I'll go with one from their debut concert featuring a number of songs from their set, so check it out below, and much more above!

I hope you guys liked our last Saultites In Out Of Town Bands Profile of 2011! That's all for now, but stay tuned for more news and notes, including new As It Stands updates and the latest David Gold developments very soon! Thanks everyone!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas From The Sault Metal Scene!!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! Consider today's post our big Christmas present to all of you, including some seasonal videos from some local bands, our last Christmas surprise uploads of the season, and our final weekly classic video of 2011, so let's "open the presents" so to speak in today's Christmas post!

Let's start with our final Christmas surprise of the season, and it relates to defunct local hard rock quintet Sense of Truth's unreleased self-titled debut EP! It's already almost 2 years since this talented band hit Stereo Soul Studios to record the material towards their first CD release, but with Sense of Truth's breakup this fall after months of slowed band activity, a formal release for their only EP seems unlikely at best. That said, after such a long wait to hear the EP, I know I'm not alone in saying that fans would like to hear at least some of the material from it, so in that spirit (and as a Christmas surprise), I've posted the tracks I have from the February 2010 recording sessions onto our YouTube channel! Two of the songs I have ("Push & Pull" and "Vicious Cycle") were downloaded from Stereo Soul Studios' website (where you can still stream them), I received "Crawling" in an e-mail from drummer Ryan Haryett earlier this year as an EP preview, and I downloaded a 51 second sample of "Land of Greed" from the band's MySpace page, where it was among three samples from the EP that fans could check out. So I essentially have 3⅓ of the 5 songs planned for the EP, only missing the full copy of "Land of Greed" and the 5th track that band sources never revealed (possibly "Pieces of a Mirror"?)

NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT IS INTENDED WITH THESE UPLOADS!!! All credit for these songs goes to the former members of Sense of Truth, as they put in all the hard work trying to record and release this EP, I just want to share what I have of the intended CD with a wider audience! The songs I have are very entertaining slices of modern hard rock from one of Sault Ontario's biggest and most promising local bands of the late 2000s, and even if these songs never see a formal release, there's definitely an audience to enjoy this material! Click the song names above to check out each of the Sense of Truth songs I uploaded (I'll add what's missing in the future if I get the tracks), and here's "Push & Pull" from their unreleased self-titled EP!

Also today, here's our final weekly classic video of 2011, purposely early as a Christmas surprise, and conveniently, it's of local metal quartet Garden of Bedlam, who of course will rock The Canadian Nightclub tomorrow night for their "Everything Will Die" CD release show! While most of their videos are on YouTube, some are still floating around on external websites, including this one of the band covering Tool's "46 & 2" at The Other Place (last known as GLOW Nightclub) on April 19th, 2008! One of Garden of Bedlam's earliest shows, they opened for defunct local Red Hot Chili Peppers cover band Sikamikanico at this concert, and though a few videos exist from their 2008 shows at this former Gore Street concert venue, this is easily the best quality of them. The band sound really good here even in their early days, though the audio quality on the filmer's camera has a muddy quality on softer stretches of the song. The video quality isn't bad, but the clarity depends on the lighting, which changes frequently during the performance. Solid stuff all around, and it shows how talented they were and continue to be now as they approach the release of their second CD!

This video was uploaded by bassist Evan Belleau to Garden of Bedlam's Facebook group a month after this show, and you can view the original video at NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT IS INTENDED!!! All credit for this video goes to Garden of Bedlam and the original filmer for the hard work they put in almost 4 years ago, I'm just sharing this quality early performance with a wider audience for the holidays! Check out Garden of Bedlam's 2008 cover of Tool's "46 & 2" below!

Let's cap off this Christmas post with two very seasonal videos relating to the local scene, starting with this slideshow video from Sault Michigan classical metal trio Theatre of Night! Featuring 3/5ths of End of Existence, this talented outfit has made a definite splash in the local scene in the last year on the heels of their "Christmas Night" album of seasonal orchestral metal instrumentals, and remember that you can buy it for $6.99 on mp3 format or $9.99 on CD through their Reverbnation store! You can also buy it for slightly higher prices on iTunes and Amazon. I highly recommend "Christmas Night" as a seasonal album for fans of local music and heavy metal, and it definitely has a Trans-Siberian Orchestra vibe (if they had three members), though some songs could stand to be heavier or include more drumming. Last month, the band uploaded their cover of "Carol of the Bells" with an accompanying photo slideshow to their YouTube channel, and despite the largely monochrome hues of the used pictures, it does put you in a holiday state of mind. Check it out below, and pick up "Christmas Night" today!

And finally, here's a classic video from 5 years ago of a notable local band giving some love to a TSO/Savatage classic from a holiday season concert of their own. A fitting and hopefully unharmful way to end this Christmas Day post on the SMS, so I wish you all a Merry Christmas, a continued Happy Hanukkah, and a Happy Holidays all around from The Sault Metal Scene! Stay tuned for more news and updates very soon, including (fingers crossed) our next Saultites In Out Of Town Bands Profile on Repetitions tomorrow for Boxing Day! Thanks everyone!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

David Gold Updates & How You Can Help, Plus Assorted Band Status Updates!!

I hope everyone's Christmas Eve is full of joy and good cheer, even in this rough time for the local metal scene. I decided to squeeze in one more news post before Santa arrives with presents for all the good boys & girls, so today, we've got news on a band's breakup and the members' current projects, lineup news for two local bands, and some updates on their future plans as well, but first, let's update everyone on the sad story out of Barrie that's been at the top of the newspile over the last couple of days, but now, there's ways you can help and contribute, so here's what you should know!

Let's start with some additional Woods of Ypres/David Gold updates. David's sister Marie has made numerous posts on his personal Facebook page over the past few hours alerting fans to news about future arrangements, notably that the family will be selling existing Woods of Ypres merchandise that David had stock of to help cover funeral costs. This includes copies of Woods of Ypres' past albums on CD & vinyl (some of which are autographed), t-shirts, posters, bags, coffee mugs, and possibly more. If you're interested in buying anything, asking what's available, knowing prices of the items, or so on, message Marie at this location or call (705) 975-2700 A.S.A.P.. This could be your last chance ever to get new Woods of Ypres merchandise, so if there's something you want or are missing, consider taking the Gold family up on this offer and help lessen the burden for his final expenses. Also, Marie mentioned in posts today that if you can't attend the get-together in his honour at The Canadian on Wednesday, you can still be involved by e-mailing Marie your name along with your own rememberances, photos, memories, and moments you have with David or his music. Submissions will be printed off and displayed at the get-together on Wednesday. If you can't make it and have anything to share, e-mail Marie at This is a very nice way to help everyone be a part of this day, which I'm sure will be important to remember his life and legacy, so definitely consider sending a rememberance in if you're unable to attend.

She also added today that there were plans in place to make a documentary about his life and music, with hopes to do a tour to venues that Woods of Ypres played at to interview fans and people he's impacted, helped, and inspired in the past. If you have any ideas for the documentary or the tour for people to contact, give Marie a shout at the links or phone number above. David himself dabbled in documentary filming, including the unreleased "Metal Korea" film he was working on from his experiences in South Korea, so I'm sure he'd be very appreciative of this idea from his family, and if it goes through, it'll definitely be a must watch! I'll of course keep updates on all of these stories as news comes out on them. For what it's worth, I haven't heard too much extra concerning the accident in Barrie on Wednesday afternoon, but I am keeping tabs on news reports there and here for any possible details. Also, from what I understand, the leak of "Woods V: Grey Skies & Electric Light" from yesterday no longer works, so either it was pulled or the download limit was reached (hopefully the latter.) If it was an accidental leak, at least it was in memoriam of a talented musician taken too soon, and hopefully Earache Records still releases "Woods V" next year as I'm sure David would have wanted. Stay tuned for more updates on David's future arrangements and Woods of Ypres stories, and keep him and the Gold family in your hearts over the holiday!
Now to some other news, and first, prominent local progressive metal band Gates of Winter have disappointingly parted ways with keyboardist Brian Holmes. He reportedly left the band last month so he could follow other endeavours, though the band's statement on their Facebook page two weeks ago clearly shows that this is an amicable (and hopefully not permanent) decision. They also announced that they are not replacing Brian, and will use orchestral samples where needed for studio material, and approach alternatives for any future concerts. Brian was an original Gates of Winter member and had featured on all of their previous live concerts and CDs, along with early demos and samples towards next year's new album "Perihelion", though it's unknown if any of his recordings will be included. This completely surprises me, as it seemed like regardless of outside concerns and commitments, that the members of Gates of Winter would stick together to write great music until they could fully focus on it again, but I know that Brian's doing what's best for him at this time. Besides, he's still the bassist with local prog rockers Machines Dream, so he's not leaving music! Best of luck to Brian and the rest of the Gates of Winter crew, and apologies for being two weeks late on this story! I'm surprised I didn't hear about this until now. Stay tuned for more updates on Gates of Winter & "Perihelion" as they come in!

Next up, here's some updates and clarification on what's been going on with Brimley hard rockers Half A Man. As it turns out, they did in fact part ways with guitarist Denny Breslin, who actually left in July before they were scheduled to record their debut album in St. Paul, Minnesota. A reason for his departure wasn't publicized. There was ambiguity because he was never formally removed from lineups, nor was an official announcement made beyond allusions to their then three-piece status last month, but it's nice to get official word. It's disappointing to see Denny leave, as he is a talented guitarist, but the new Half A Man lineup already seems to have a lot of promise and momentum behind them! A statement made on their Facebook page highlights the excitement they have now that Dillion Semasky of Infathom is their singer, which honestly does open up possibilities to improve and expand into heavier territory! Plans are now in place roughly to head to St. Paul to record material towards a debut album next year, and from what I'm hearing, their material and sound may be very different from what we heard from Half A Man last year and early this year. There seems to be a lot of excitement in the Half A Man camp and their new lineup, so stay tuned to band pages for continuing updates!

Finally today, remember last month when a new version of local classic hard rock band Turner Up was launched, though separate from the original Turner Up, who had morphed into Full Circle this spring? Well, the two bands didn't co-exist long, as drummer Scott McLurg confirmed in a post on his personal Facebook page yesterday that Full Circle had parted ways earlier this month. The breakup was due to personal issues with a band member, but I don't wanna put anyone down or highlight conflicts, especially not at this time of the year, so I won't elaborate. This ends a successful 2 year run for the original Turner Up/Full Circle that featured tons of entertaining concerts amidst numerous lineup changes, but Scott & guitarist Robert Brown are sure to keep the hard rocking going with the new Turner Up, and also now, local rock band Havadder! You're bound to be familiar with them from many local concerts, and though they're not a hard rock band so to speak, they now share 4 members with Turner Up (all except Krista Marshall.) Nice work on Jason Roy's part to bring in Scott, Rob, and Travis for the new Havadder lineup, they should go far themselves locally! Stay tuned for more from Turner Up as it comes in!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for a special Christmas autopost tomorrow afternoon, and have a Merry Christmas if I'm not online at all tomorrow! Thanks everyone!

Holiday Season Concert Previews, Including The Bret Michaels Concert!!

It's time to preview a small but notable stretch of metal concerts taking place over the next little while, so after you guys open your Christmas presents and spend time with the family, there's some shows to hit that you guys should definitely know about! They're the sole focus of this post, but rest assured, there's a lot more on the David Gold front to report that I hope to get to over the next while, among other stories. Stay tuned, but for this Christmas Eve, let's stay positive and focus on these upcoming concerts, so here's what you need to know!

First for this batch of post-Christmas metal/hard rock shows is the long awaited Garden of Bedlam CD release show! Over a year after recording sessions at Stereo Soul Studios wrapped up, the prominent local metal quartet will hit the stage for the first time in 5 months when they rock The Canadian Nightclub on Monday night with their new album "Everything Will Die" in tow! Fans have been anticipating this album's release for months, and now, fans can officially buy it Monday night at the site of some of Garden of Bedlam's biggest shows, themselves returning to The Canadian 21 months after last playing there! I can attest to the quality of this new album, but if you want to be the first to buy it, and check out a full set of Garden of Bedlam mayhem, be at The Canadian on Monday night at 10:00 PM! There will be a $5 cover charge (I'm unsure what the CD will cost, but I'd bring at least $10), there is no opening band for this show, and you must be 19 to attend. For more details, visit the official Facebook event page! This should be an awesome night of metal from one of the area's biggest bands, and you know that they'll be pumped up to finally unveil the fruits of their labour on their fans this coming Monday!

Though I don't know release details for the album beyond this show, you'll absolutely wanna be there for all that will be going on! I wish I could be there to rock out with you guys, but I'm in Detroit through Wednesday. Best of luck, stay tuned for my review of "Everything Will Die" before New Years Day, and for a preview of this huge CD release show, here's Garden of Bedlam playing the CD's opening song "Against The Grain" at Rotaryfest last year!

Now to a pair of entertaining hard rock concerts taking place on Tuesday, starting with the last major headlining concert at The Dreammakers Theater at Kewadin Casino of 2011, and it features the return to Sault Ste. Marie of Poison frontman Bret Michaels! A hair metal legend and a recent star of a few reality television series, this talented singer will make his (at least) fourth appearance in the Sault area on Tuesday night, following successful Kewadin appearances in 2008 & 2010 (the latter as part of Kewadin's 25th Anniversary Summer Festival), and an earlier solo gig at the former Eastgate Hotel in Sault Ontario in 2005. This time, Bret's sure to have loads of great solo and Poison material ready to rock out with, ranging from classics like "Every Rose Has It's Thorn" and "Talk Dirty To Me" to newer solo tracks like "Go That Far" and "Wasted Time", so there's no shortage of quality material in store for Poison & Bret Michaels fans on Tuesday night! Unlike his last couple of area stops, there is no announced opening band. Tickets ARE still available (though only standing room tickets for general seating), and they are still $42.50 American, so click here to buy them online, or you can presumably visit the Kewadin box office in person or call 1-800-KEWADIN to get hooked up while you still have time.

I believe this show is all ages, and there is a 7:00 PM start time. For more details, check the above links! It's great to see Bret back in action for another local stop, especially after all of his health issues last year, and hopefully he'll prove once again why he's one of the area's favourite major touring acts! I'm admittedly not a huge fan, but Bret's work with Poison speaks for itself in hair metal circles, so definitely consider snagging some tickets if you haven't already! For a preview, here's SooToday's recap video from his stop at The Dreammaker's Theater on his birthday in 2008!

Finally for concerts over the next couple of post-Christmas days, it's the Green Christmas Bash at Coch's Corner on Tuesday! This is the second straight "Green Christmas" show promoted by local cello punk trio RedD Monkey, following one on Boxing Day 2010, and though this year's variation has had a lot of changes since being originally announced, there's still fun to be had! Only two bands are now scheduled for this concert, including headliners RedD Monkey and local blue Chinese metal crash punk quartet Sykotyk Rampage, making their Coch's Corner debut (I think), their first local concert appearance since October's Soo Zombie Walk afterparty, and they'll have bassist Brian Cattapan joining them for the first time on-stage since June! Now, this concert has had a lot of alterations since it was announced in September, including a move from Feedback (who hosted last year's Green Christmas show as Foggy Notions) to Coch's Corner and a date change from today to the 27th, both for unexplained reasons. With the date change, the previously announced View To A Kill and Ye Olde Mold Pickers both dropped out of this concert, with Sativa Rose pulling out earlier this month due to family commitments for singer Marisa Valois. That said, the two bands we still have will deliver a unique night of punk and crash for fans at Coch's Corner, so definitely consider attending this show on Tuesday night!

There is no cover charge for this concert, you must be 19 to attend, and a 10:00 PM start time is listed. For more details, visit the official Facebook event page! Regardless of the changes and band dropouts, this will be a unique seasonal concert for your holiday concertgoing needs, and you know that both RedD Monkey's classical infused punk rock and Sykotyk Rampage's harsh and very original jam music will entertain all night! For a preview, here's RedD Monkey covering Motorhead's "Ace of Spades" last December at what's now Feedback!

That's all for now, but stay tuned for more news (David Gold or otherwise), our Saultites In Out Of Town Bands Profile on Repetitions, our final Christmas surprise post, and more as the holiday season continues! Stay tuned, and if you're not around the computer over the next few days, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!